Â The wheels started rolling today on a new plan to address Gainesville's homeless problem.Â The program's called Homeward Bound.Â It's a free, one-way bus ticket for homeless folks in Gainesville to get back to their hometown.
Â The hope is that family or friends back home can help get their struggling loved ones back on their feet.
Â Gainesville Commissioners have teamed up with Saint Francis House to kick off the new program.
Â While City Officials say the idea is to reunite the homeless with their families, some community members say it's just another ploy to get the homeless out of town.Â
Â "I don't think it's going to work.Â I just don't think it will," said one Gainesville resident.Â
Â The plan isn't without it's skeptics, but officials sayÂ Homeward Bound is not just a ticket out of town, Â it's a program to help the homeless get back on their feet.Â
Â A case worker follows up on every participant to make sure the homeless get where they're supposed to be going.
but some ainesville residents have doubts.
Â Another resident sais, "I wouldn't really mind a free ticket to Portland.Â I'm sure people will take advantage of it - for sure."
Â A recent survey shows that nearly 45% of the homeless in Gainesville came from somewhere else, and want to reunite with their families. with statistics like that the City of Gainesville feels that Homeward Bound is bound to work.
Â Universitty of Florida's Director of Affordable housing said,
For the homeless folks, Â perhaps a ticket home would be a great kindness."
Â The idea of homeward bound comes from San Francisco, where more than eighteen hundred homeless people were successfully sent home.Â
Thalia Hayden,Â WCJB TV-20 News.
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